Business students clinch victories at sales competition

Contact: Molly Goaley
Gabe Pelak (left) and Trevor Bageris (right)

WMU business students Gabe Pelak, left. and Trevor Bageris, right

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University business students Trevor Bageris and Gabe Pelak traveled to the University of Missouri Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business Oct. 24-25 to compete in the E. & J. Gallo Winery Collegiate Sales Competition. The students clinched first place overall, while also claiming second place in the event's marketing case presentation. Additionally, Bageris took second place in the sales role-play portion of the event.

The competition is an annual program hosted at Mizzou and sponsored by California-based E. & J. Gallo Winery. College teams from around the country—consisting of two full-time undergraduate students and one faculty coach—are invited to participate. Training materials are provided to assist students, and faculty coaches are responsible for helping students prepare for each segment.

The team award is presented to the two students from the university with the highest combined scores from the marketing case presentation and sales role-play competition.

"On short notice, the team took what they learn every day in WMU's sales and business marketing program and put it to work," says Dr. Jim Eckert, Robert S. Kaiser professor of sales and faculty coach to the team. "It turned out to be a winning approach. All the credit goes to Trevor and Gabe who volunteered to compete and made it happen. We are fortunate to have students like them in the program."

Bageris of Fowlerville and Pelak of Mattawan were invited to join the competition by E. & J. Gallo just two weeks prior to the event. "Since we were a last-minute team, we had a limited amount of time to practice," says Bageris. "We completed almost 20 hours of preparation in about three days."

"We bounced ideas off our professors and past competitors to come up with a winning plan," adds Pelak. "It felt great to win. It’s just more affirmation that what we're being taught through the WMU sales and business marketing program is effective."

"Coming into Western as a senior transfer student, it was amazing to see the progress I was able to make in the sales program," says Bageris. "It feels great that what we learn in our sales classes truly generates results."


WMU's sales and business marketing program is frequently lauded for its achievements in career placement, experiential learning, student competitions and more. Ninety-nine percent of students find full-time careers or are continuing their education within three months of graduation, and 96% of these graduates are engaged in a job related to their degree. Program highlights include:

  • Student competition success—Students from WMU consistently finish at or near the top at a number of sales competitions including: the National Collegiate Sales Competition, the National Sales Challenge, the State Farm Sales and Marketing Competition, and the Quicken Loans National Sales Competition.
  • Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab—Students role-play and demonstrate their skills and expertise in the state-of-the-art Robert S. Kaiser Sales, Negotiation and Leadership Lab. The lab includes enhanced ability to pinpoint areas for student improvement with detailed notes embedded in videos of the exercises. Students also have the opportunity to share footage with prospective hiring managers.
  • Sales and Business Marketing Association­—The association is one of the largest and most active student organizations in the college with more than 125 members. The group regularly hosts top employers, giving students an opportunity to engage with industry professionals.
  • Study abroad—Sales students gain a global perspective on business as one of the largest cohorts at WMU to study abroad.
  • National recognition—The program has been identified by the Sales Education Foundation as a top national program that both prepares students for careers in professional selling and helps elevate the sales profession.

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